blancanieves-feb-5thArtistically a highly successful return to the silent movie genre, Blancanieves is a surreal fantasy based on the story of Snow White. The film is shot in black and white, is reminiscent of Luis Buñuel, and has an atmospheric and stirring Flamenco soundtrack. The young Carmencita, whose bullfighter father has been maimed, finds herself in the hands of her wicked step-mother, Encarna. She runs away and joins a troop of bullfighting dwarves, who train her in their craft. Berger skilfully combines the melodrama of silent film with Gothic fairy tale fantasy in this marvellous subversion of both genres. ” … there’s a flash of pure inspiration, unfakeable and unmistakable, in this extraordinarily enjoyable film … ” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. (Cert 12A)
Dir: Pablo Berger 104 mins Spain 2012

Programme Notes

Spain 2012 104m Cert 12

Blancanieves, which translates as ‘white snow’, is Pablo Bergers’s unusual take on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, so well known to millions from Walt Disney’s brilliant animated feature of 1937.

Set in 1920s Seville, the film is shot in glorious black and white, is silent, and is centred round a young woman found suffering from amnesia and rescued by a band of bullfighting dwarves. They name her Blancanieves and discover she has all the skills of a bullfighter. They use her in their act and her fame begins to spread – at which point, the evil queen Encarna enters the story to thwart their ambitions.

The film is a striking masterpiece of ingenious fantasy and topped the polls in Spain’s 27th Academy Goya Awards, winning ten statuettes including Best Film and Original Screenplay. It became Spain’s entry for Best Foreign Language film in the 2012 Oscars. Maribel Verdu, previously seen in Y tu Mama Tambien and Pan’s Labyrinth, gives a scene-stealing performance as the darkly malevolent Encarna – which is alone is worth the price of admission!

Antonio Villalta – Daniel Gimenez Cacho
Carmen/Blancanieves – Macarena Garcia
Encarna – Maribel Verdu Dona Concha – Angela Molina
Don Carlos – Josep Marcia Pou
Jesusin – Emilio Gavira

Director – Pablo Berger
Producer – Pablo Berger
Screenplay – Pablo – Kiko de la Rica
Music – Alphonso de Villalonga

“This lush and ravishing rethinking of Snow White is bolstered by solid performances, a witty script and a fantastic set design. A must for any fan of silent film and/or Snow White in general.” Ricky D., Sound on Sight

“Stark noir composition, aided by a musical score featuring flamenco guitar, maracas and a full orchestra, [makes] this film a visual treat for art students but not necessarily children.” Dave Montalbano, The Observer



“Quite extra-ordinary – never seen anything quite like it before!”

“Fantastic – Salvador Dali with great music”

“A one-off, excellently done. Loved the music.”

“Beautiful film, very well done. Lovely music.”

“Stroke of genius to shoot such a colourful subject in black and white! I liked the Bunuellian touch at the end.”

“One of the scariest and saddest films I have ever seen. Amazing music.”

“A splendid film, with a convincing heroine and villain plus many sympathetic humbler characters. I found some early passages, and at first the significance of the chicken, hard to follow.”

“The magic of film – let the images and the music tell the story.”

“A film in a genre of its own”

“May have had a predictable plot and owe a huge a huge debt to film history beyond its ‘silent’ aesthetics but it was a pretty good take on the Snow White fairytale.”

“Brilliant re-working of a familiar fable. Great score and images – but demonstrated the strength and weaknesses of a ‘so-called’ silent movie.”

“Simple old plot but very engaging”

“Dark, quirky and Spanish! Too slow but still engrossing.”

“Snow White didn’t wake up but I found the film very entertaining!”

“An interesting film, if a bit ‘Grimm’ in places!”

“Different – perhaps more bullfighting than was warranted.”

“Spanish cock!”

“I prefer steam engines …”


A:20, B:11, C:4, D:2, E:0 to give 83%